Let’s face it. Most interview questions are pretty awkward. For a start, let’s consider the interview scenario itself is peculiar. Interviewees find themselves in unfamiliar surroundings making conversation with people they’ve never met before. So in general, any questions posed are likely to be unexpected and therefore feel like awkward interview questions.
Interviewers intentionally make some interview questions more challenging than others. Not because they are wicked creatures who love to see candidates squirm under pressure. In fact, quite the opposite; They want to understand what makes applicants tick and assess whether they are a good fit for their business.
Such awkward interview questions are structured in ways that enable interviewers to learn about your character, preparation and professionalism. Or maybe test your problem-solving skills.
The key to breezing your next interview and convincing the interviewers that you’re the one for the job is preparation. That’s right, practice answering the most awkward interview questions you can imagine and you’ll be prepared for anything the interviewer throws at you. To help you, here a few examples of the most common awkward job interview questions. Furthermore, we offer tips for answering them with aplomb!
How To Answer Awkward Interview Questions About Your Current Job
There is nothing especially wrong with any reason you might have for leaving one job and seeking another. But how you convey that reason to a prospective employer is crucial. Never speak ill of your current or former employer, as this will come across as unprofessional.
Prospective employers understand the many justifiable reasons for moving on from a job. Whatever your reason, you must frame it positively.
For example, don’t just say you are bored in your current job. Instead, say you are looking to take the next step in your career. You are, therefore seeking a position that challenges you and helps you develop professionally.
Let’s say the reason for your job search happens to be legitimately negative. It is possible to frame this as a positive for your prospective employer, while avoiding negative comments about your current firm.
For example, you feel underpaid and overworked, but saying this would sound detrimental to your current working conditions.
So instead explain you wish to work for a company with similar values to your own, further elaborating how you think they are a good match. For example, let’s say you want to work for an employer that will allow you to develop and learn new skills. If their advert says they are looking for someone who is willing to learn, isn’t that a good match?
What Is Your Motivation?
As with the reason for leaving your current job, an explanation of your motivation requires a little tweaking. Firstly, identify your genuine reason for wanting the job. Then strip it down to its fundamentals.
A frequent motivation for leaving is the potential to earn more money. However, the fundamental need behind this is financial stability which sounds more motivational than just wanting more money. Of course, you are basically saying the same thing in a different way. Although, using this strategy to answer this awkward interview question makes you seem more articulate and thoughtful.
Tell Me About Yourself
This cumbersome question is not your cue to regale hiring managers with every detail of your life! Remember, they have read your CV thoroughly and thus don’t need it repeated.
Instead, focus on the most relevant item. Such as your most recent experience relating to the position for which you are applying. Perhaps add a reason why you enjoy that particular work.
Keep your answer brief; Understanding how to succinctly answer this question is a significant step towards impressing the interviewer.
Do You Have Any Questions For Us?
You absolutely must have at least one or two questions ready to ask at the end of an interview. Firstly, because asking any questions at all indicate how much preparation you have done for the interview. Secondly, the questions you ask allow interviewers to gauge what a good culture fit you might be for their business.
A serious candidate will have thoroughly researched the company and discovered something worth asking.
Candidates often find interviewers answering their pre-prepared questions throughout the interview. It is, therefore, imperative you have a few extra ones lined up.
Bear in mind; you are using these questions to show off how much research you conducted into the company. Perhaps even engineer the situation to highlight a particularly positive aspect of yourself.
Examples of well thought out questions include asking if there will be opportunities for developing new skills. Wanting to know more about how the team is structured also shows you are keen to understand your place in it. Additionally, research the company’s social media channels and ask something relevant about a recent blog post.
Awkward Questions You Should Never Be Asked In a Job Interview
Of course, there are specific topics which are out of bounds during a typical job interview. Indeed, particular issues go way beyond the realms of tough interview questions. To be precise, it is illegal to discriminate based on any of the following subjects:
- Family origin
- Marital status
- Family expectations
If you find yourself in a difficult situation, being asked something that seems off-limits, you don’t have to carry on. You are perfectly entitled to end an interview at any point if you feel that the job is not right for you.
If you decide to carry on, be sure to take the full name and position of the interviewer. This way, if you feel you may be a victim of discrimination, you have their details when seeking legal advice.
Prepare for Interviews Like a Pro
The above are just a few examples of questions which can lead to awkwardness if the candidate hasn’t prepared. There are, of course, other scenarios involving problem-solving etc. that a successful candidate will need to prepare in advance. Primarily this is true in interviews for skilled positions such as IT and other Digital or Technical roles.
A good recruitment consultant can help candidates prepare for interviews. They can also offer career advice, chase for feedback on your behalf and ultimately help successfully secure an ideal position.
Have you ever been asked any awkward interview questions? Do you have any advice for others based on your experience? We would love to hear your feedback.